As her kids were getting older, Madeline decided to return to work outside the home. She started her own business and was having great success. In fact she was working so hard, Mike told her “You’re too tense!” Mike was concerned about how hard Madeline was working but unknowingly criticized her for being too tense.
I suggested that Mike restate his statement so that it wasn’t critical and he said “I’m concerned about how tense you are.” Madeline replied that she is really driven and acknowledged that she has a poor work-life balance. Mike replied, “You’re having great success. I don’t want it to burn you out.” Now Mike’s caring was clearly coming through.